President Donald Trump organized a press conference one week ago, wherein he alleged Google would be developing a screening website for the coronavirus that would guide people to testing sites. People came to know in the following days, that wasn’t the case.
Verily, Google’s sister company did release such a site; however, only for the Bay Area and supposedly it only provided tests to a very few numbers of people. Google, however, did claim it would roll out some sort of website and after a small delay, it’s finally here.
Along with the website, more importantly, Google is going to start offering more improved information cards for people who search for terms that are related to the coronavirus. There are going to be information tabs for symptoms, prevention, global statics, and locally relevant information.
URL of the website is google.com/covid19. It does have useful resources, consisting of a card that copies what you see above. Google’s post declaring the site explains that people will be able to find “state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators, and businesses.” Google accentuates that it’s fetching information from “authoritative” sources such as the WHO and the CDC.
It’s only available in English right now, however a spokesperson from Google said that Spanish language support will come soon, the Verge reported. The site was also developed with accessibility in mind, consisting of the larger fonts that Google usually utilizes.
The website has videos in ASL, a global map displaying confirmed cases by country, and plenty of information regarding Google’s other relief efforts along with feel-good YouTube videos.
False Claims by Trump
However, going through that description, you’ll observe that it doesn’t have what Trump originally claimed it would include. The nearest thing to searching a test is a drop-down menu that offers links to local websites: for example, selecting California provides a link to the California Department of Public Health.
Currently, the CDC has a “self-checker” chatbot that was built with the help of Microsoft; however, the WSJ quoted an executive from a healthcare provider who laid a realistic context: “It’s just something consumers need now to help with anxiety.”
In other words, many of the big tech companies are making solid efforts to offer coronavirus-related support; however, none of them have been successful to solve some of the biggest problems in the pandemic: access to testing and the impending crisis in our healthcare infrastructure.
At a certain point in the future, Google may offer a questionnaire and information about local drive-thru testing locations. However, a spokesperson explains that the company won’t do so unless there’s trustworthy and authoritative information on those sites. Unfortunately, that could be a long time coming.
Hello, I’m Anna Yeo. If you like my news coverage, please drop a good word in my inbox. I’m journalist by profession and have been part of many major reporting across the globe. I like to write crisp and factual news. I have completed my masters degree in journalism. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]